Rony Abovitz, founder of Magic Leap, is starting on a new path after his departure as CEO of the well-funded augmented reality company last year. Abovitz just unveiled his next project, a startup called Sun and Thunder, which aims to build what he calls “synthetic beings.”
Founded late last year, Abovitz says the company’s first project will feature a character named Jako Vega, also known as ‘Yellow Dove’, which will be the center of a number of short film experiments set to release sometime in 2021.
On the face of it, Sun and Thunder feels patently Abovitzian in its near-science fiction ambitions to create digital life. Much like Magic Leap’s AI-driven virtual companion Mica, which was billed as an “educator, agitator, companion, artist and guide,” Abovitz imbues Yellow Dove with a degree of sentience that’s fairly questionable—at least for now.
The startup says on its website that Yellow Dove is “a member of the Sun and Thunder team, a co-creator, and traveler through a number of interconnected Sun and Thunder storyworlds. He is a musician and the first artist on Sun and Thunder Records.”
Abovitz tells Venture Beat in an exclusive interview that the upcoming short film will act as an introduction to the Yellow Dove character.
“He goes outside and teaches us about the world, and we’re building out the underlying technology that makes these things happen. It’s a small enough container that we are developing. And he ultimately will be writing all of his lyrics and adventures.”
Continuing, Abovitz says the startup isn’t trying to “take on like the largest tech companies in the world,” à la Magic Leap. “It’s not the best metaphor, but this is like a craft beer. Or something Studio Ghibli would do.”
Abovitz tells Venture Beat that Sun and Thunder is being funded out of pocket for now, although he’s currently in talks with potential investors. Abovitz still sits on Magic Leap’s board of directors, however Sun and Thunder is a separate venture that isn’t tied to a specific platform.